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Offline atgreg

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9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« on: November 26, 2008, 01:24:14 pm »
My trip to the Offcenter Rally (OCR).

The OCR is a gettogether of riders in outback Oz, it happens every 2nd year and the location changes every time. It's always a hoot and a great excuse to get out into countyside for some great riding. The 08 OCR was to be held at Lorella Springs, http://www.lorellasprings.com/ , on the western side of the Gulf in tropical nth oz and about 4000km from my home in Sydney.



I'd been planning, preparing and looking forward to the trip for about a year and darn me but 10 days before I left I slipped a disc in me back, some rest, some physio and a lot of drugs and come departure day I was ready if still a bit stiff and sore in the back.

My trusty Africa twin was ready;
CR250 USD forks fitted - check
steering damper fitted - check
bumtank fitted - check
new tyres, chain, sprockets, airfilter - check
lets hit the road


I headed straight west over the mountains, bloody freezing, thats the problem with outback trips, winter is the season for it but the transports to get there are a pain. The 1st day and a half were a tar transport and seeing how my back was holding up, all good so when I got to nyngan it was time to hit the dirt finally and take the back way to Byrock.



it always takes me a few km to get my dirt legs back so I was a bit cautious at 1st but slowly got into it, the road was mostly good gravel with odd small lose section.



The sun disapeared and clouds came scudding in threateningly, so i raced em to get back on the tar at Byrock. Outback dirt turns to grease with not much rain so it's a worry.



I made it to byrock just as the heavens opened, whew, it pissed down for 30 mins and then the sun came out again.



I made it to nth Bourke for my 2nd night
 

Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 01:25:41 pm »
Next was heading for Hungerford where i was meeting some other riders, some sand, some rocks, a bit of water , not a bad ride;





Past the old Fords Bridge Hotel





Brett and his KTM 625 were already there;



Norm and the Dr rolled in later in the arvo, the 3 musketeers were complete.



Hungerford is a tiny place, just a pub and a couple of other buildings, just over the border in Queensland, also just over the Dingo fence, the Dingo fence built to keep wild dogs out of southern NSW is longer than the Great Wall of China at 5300km long.







$10 for a bed in the pubs bunkhouse, bargain





A great sunset



while we were having a drink in the bar, the publican plopped a tray of fresh caught and cooked local yabbies on the bar and told us to go for it, we didn't have to be told twice:freaky





travelling through the bush always reinforces my faith in people

A great but cold night at the pub was had



It was great open fast dirt to Thargomindah



then a great track through Norley station to Toompine, it had a bit of everything, gravel, blacksoil,dry creekbeds and 1 with water, an excellent ride.









Toompine i just a pub, (are you getting a theme in outback Oz ??:evil ) with some very friendly locals







A few hundred km of tar unfortuneately through Quilpey as we headed towards Windorah and raced the setting sun west, eventually we pulled off the road and camped in a floodplain with some grass and plenty of wood.





 

Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 01:27:15 pm »
back on the road and into Windorah for a feed and some fuel



Solar power



back on the dirt and the country slowly changed to gibber country





man it's harsh country, i cant imagine the pioneers and explorers out here in summer opening up the country last century, it's intimidating enough with modern transport and backup.



http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008080703.swf



They have strange cows out here, they eat rocks :scratch



norm & brett wanted to head through Diamantina national park, it needed 600km fuel range, i only had 500km range so when we got to the turnoff after transferring fuel and saying our goodbyes the oys turned nth and I kept heading west for Bedourie, we planned to meet up at boulia the next day.





About 1km after leaving the boys, while having a drink I hit a big washout, didn't feel to bad then I noticed something flapping, it was my guard, torn the mounts off on 1 side, I think it might have touched the crashbar mounts. I originally mounted it quite high but it touched the crashbar mount on big hits so I lowered it and did some rough tracks and no more touching so I thought it was OK. Guess I'll have to take the springs out and  fully compress the forks to check.  This happened 5 days out of sydney, my vapour sensor was mounted to the guard so I had no speedo for 3 weeks or so. fun, fun, fun.





Bugger, oh well, these things happen :tough

250km  along to Bedourie, I dont know about anyone else but riding by myself outback does weird things to my head, even though Ive ridden out there a lot whenever im on these roads alone I start imagining all sorts of stuff, must be the BIG skies or something.



I was relieved when i got there and booked into the pub and had a wander around town







met the boys at Boulia about lunch time, i decided to head straight for Mt isa to try and at least get some fork guards while they went and played in the hills near Duchess.

got to Mt isa and no fork guards,,bugger !!. Anyway I made my own



I cant believe they lasted the 7000km to home:thumbup

The boys rocked in and we got a cabin, did some bike maintanance



Murray and his 1200 Adventure joined us as well so now it was the 4 musketeers





Stage 1 was over and the next day the fun would really start heading nth for Lawn hill and lorella springs
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 01:34:21 pm by atgreg »
 

Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2008, 01:31:08 pm »
we left Mt Isa heading west towards Camoweal for 120km on the tar then we turned nth and got back on the dirt







We took the back road through Riversleigh



there were 3 causeways to cross



http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008080703.swf

It's amazing how wherever  there is water in this dry dusty country it turns tropical



The 1st 2 causeways were fine, only a little bit slippery, though there was a tricky sandy corner that came out of nowhere after the 1st one that caused some spincter puckering







We'd been warned that the 3rd causeway was very slippery and they were right, I tried to walk across it and nearly fell on my ass a few times. We decided to be wimps and walked the bikes across







All safely across, we did feel a bit wimpy but later after stories of other guys falling off riding across we didn't feel so bad.



The road also passes the riversleigh fossil site, one of the most important in the world, the casual visitor cant see much though



we got to Adels grove and set up camp, what a tropical paradise, beautifull shady campsite, HUGE swimming whole, and a bar, very civilised :clap















it was great to laze around, eat , swim and wash off the dust. Just 10km away is lawn hill gorge national park, a spring fed river has cut a gorge through the sandstone country, again near the water is very tropical but you dont have to get to far away for it to turn dry and dusty again. A bit of exploring the gorge by canoe was in order. A few more riders o their way to Lorella had arrived so there was a bit of a posse for the canoeing















it was a great way to spend a few hours. teh it was time for a bushwalk and more swimming







surprise, fish like jatz biccies
http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008080703.swf
 

Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2008, 01:32:03 pm »
stay tuned, many, many more adventures to come:evil :evil :evil

 

Offline cloudgazer

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2008, 01:49:25 pm »
Wow, Australia doesn't look like such a bad country afterall.
 ;D

Nice report.
 

Offline the_BOBNOB

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2008, 01:49:36 pm »
except for the last picture it looks awesome  :thumleft:
 

Offline pantsula

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2008, 01:58:40 pm »
Awesome! Thanks for posting :-)

Offline I&horse

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2008, 02:09:54 pm »
Can't wait!
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Offline KiLRoy

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2008, 02:50:38 pm »
Great stuff - thanx for sharing!!
 

Offline Frohan Visser

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 03:11:44 pm »
Very, very nice report!! Australia is my next continent to explore!!

Please dont keep us waiting to long ...............
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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008, 03:29:28 pm »
Awesome report!!

Glad it is not your AT in those ashes, but still a veryu sad picture!!!
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Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2008, 10:56:42 pm »
now where was I, ah yes , Adels grove. After a couple of relaxing tourist days it was time to head nth again for lorella Springs. By pooling all our spare fuel tanks we decided we had enough fuel between us to bypass Doomadgee and head to Hells Gate and then Borooloola on the main gulf track via Kingfisher camp, 560km between fills.

We headed  out following the little KFC signs, it was bit confusing as the track passed through a few stations and there were lots of tracks but we kept following what we thought was the main track.

it was a hoot, mostly good to start with, through paddocks, along fence lines and lots of gates











A creek crossing which wasn't supposed to be there, our 1st inkling that we weren't where we thought we were.






Here's a video
http://atgreg.smugmug.com/gallery/5791728_FdoAF#358601843_L44pW-A-LB

we were looking for an intersection where it was left to Kingfisher and right to Doomadgee, it should have been about 90km from Adels, the km mounted up, 90km, 100km, 110km, :scratch  eventually at 115km we came to a T junction but no signs. After conferring we decided the map must be wrong and after topping the tanks up from the jerry's we turned left.







Another 25km down the road and we came up on a road coming in from the left, the sign said Adels grove 89, shit, that was the way we were meant to come from. We had no idea where we had been but to get to that spot we'd done 140km which made us marginal for fuel to get to Boroloola. A bit of a chat and we decided to keep going, if we got real low we'd put all the fuel in 1 bike and they could go and fill the jerry's for the rest of us.

The track from here got smaller & rougher with some rocks and large bulldust holes. Murray on the 1200 was struggling a bit, had 2 woopsies along this stretch and was wishing he'd ridden either the DR650 or DR750 he has in the shed.







 

Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2008, 11:01:32 pm »
eventually we got to kingfisher camp, what a spot, green grassy camping area and a huge waterhole, 5km or so long. Murray was shagged, i was getting a bit tired and cold spagetti from a tin never tasted so good. Note to self, must come back one day and camp here for a while.









the track improved after Kingfisher and in no time we hit the gulf track



50km and we pulled up stumps at Hells gate, no fuel anymore but you can still camp there.





The Gulf track to boroloola is a pretty wide and mostly good rd, a bit rougher on the Qld side



http://atgreg.smugmug.com/gallery/5782601_MeFNM#357963842_eq8oS-A-LB

It was great to cross in to the NT, 1st time for me



There were a few creek crossings once we were in the NT



http://atgreg.smugmug.com/gallery/5791728_FdoAF#358600386_mVE7X-A-LB

http://atgreg.smugmug.com/gallery/5791728_FdoAF#358601918_WUWE6-A-LB

We made boroloola in time for lunch, I was keen to head for Lorella, 150km away, we were told it would take 4 hours. The others were't keen so we headed out to the McArthur river fishing camp 40km away and set up shop





I still wasn't sure it was a good idea



Didn't seem to bother these fols though



there was a little bar for a drink and a feed

 

Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2008, 11:04:27 pm »
todays the days:clap  we'll finally get to Lorella springs the reason for the whole trip. back into boroloola for fuel and some shopping and off we went onto the gulf track that heads for roper bar. A bit rocky with odd bulldust patch



Murray and th pig got caught out by one hiding just over the top of a rise and went over the bars at 50km/h



no major dmage to body or bike but not surprisingly Muzz was a bit gunshy of the soft stuff

a couple more creek crossings and we were at the lorella turnoff
http://atgreg.smugmug.com/gallery/5782601_MeFNM#357974093_uNrES-A-LB



The 30km into lorella was a hoot, some hard stuff, shallow sand, gravelly dry creekbeds and some stretches of pretty deep sand.

no piccies of the long deep sandpatch that was to catch many out but here's a few of the track in.





Murray really struggled with the soft sections but made it in without any more falls, great effort

 

Offline atgreg

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2008, 11:05:37 pm »
and we were there :clap









And what a lovely spot, camping is next to a small thermal spring and after a beer it was straight in to wash off the sweat & dust









Magical spring indeed, even had it's own water nymph:evil



still more to come including the infamous KTM BBQ


 

Offline malgat (RIP)

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2008, 12:41:56 pm »
dammmmm,,,,what a glorius trip,,,this is gonna be a roll of honour one,,,mark my words

thanx for sharing and respect to you and your mates....

those roads look lovely,,,,,cmon bring on the rest
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Offline pantsula

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2008, 12:57:46 pm »
show us more pictures of the "water nymph"   :mwink: :mwink: :mwink:

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2008, 12:59:58 pm »
Fantastic
 

Offline ROOI

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Re: 9000km in Oz , Sydney to the tropics & back
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2008, 02:36:35 pm »
EPIC  :ricky: :ricky:
FTS